GAO Report on Global Warming Effects on Federal Lands

Washington, DC (September 6, 2007)- The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report detailing the changes made to the nation’s parks, forests, marine sanctuaries, and monuments as a result of global warming. Some effects cited in the report include increased glacier melting in Glacier National Park, sea level rise and coral bleaching in the Florida Keys, and non-native grasses replacing shrubs in the Mojave Desert, fueling hotter and larger wildfires in Arizona.

The 184-page report concludes that the Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce departments have failed to provide the tools and guidance needed for resource managers to deal with such effects. “Without such guidance, their ability to address climate change and effectively manage resources is constrained,” the report says.
The report also states that the Interior Department has ignored an order signed by former secretary Bruce Babbitt requiring the department to consider climate change impacts in future decision making and planning. The Interior Department has told the GAO that current secretary Dirk Kempthorne established “a department-wide task force” to look at climate change in April and is awaiting a final report at the end of September.
Related Resources:
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